In Wide-Ranging Rally, Trump Appeals To His Base, Targets Refugees And Press

February 18, 2017 7:25 p.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

President Donald Trump on Saturday energized a crowd in Melbourne, Florida with a wide-ranging campaign speech. Trump listed the progress he said his administration had made in its first month and continued attacks against reliable targets, including undocumented immigrants, refugees and the mainstream media.

“I’m here because I want to be among my friends and among the people,” Trump said at the beginning of the rally, which was held by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., his campaign organization.

“I want to be in a room filled with hard-working American patriots who love their country, who salute their flag, and who pray for a better future,” he said. “I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news, the dishonest media, which has published one false story after another with no sources. Even though they pretend they have them, they make them up in many cases. They just don’t want to report the truth.”

“We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do, how to live, or what to believe,” he added shortly after. “We are free and independent people and we’ll make our own choices.”

Trump later tied crime rates in various cities across the country to “transnational criminal cartels.”

“You are seeing it. The gang members. Bad, bad people,” he said. “I said it, day one, they’re going out or they’re being put in prison. But for the most part, get them the hell out of here and bring them back to where they came from.”

“I’ll tell you what’s happening in Chicago, and many other places. Safety is a civil right and we will fight to make America totally safe again,” he added later. “I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to coordinate on a plan to destroy transnational criminal cartels, which are all over the United States, and we are going to stop them from pouring into your country, into your community, into your cities, and poisoning our youth. We are stopping it. We are stopping it.”

Trump spent much of the rally summarizing various of the executive orders he signed in his first days in office, including orders expediting the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines; placing lobbying restrictions on ex-executive branch officials; and one order instructing the Department of Justice “to take a firm, firm stand to protect our cops, sheriffs and police from crimes and violence against them,” in his words.

Trump also pressured Democrats to “work with us” on replacing the Affordable Care Act, confirming his nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, and speeding up the process of confirming his Cabinet nominees.

“Can you imagine the length of time it has taken the Democrats?” he said. “And I actually think it’s an embarrassment to them. But this is getting to be record-setting territory. These are incredible people.”

Trump also hinted at a new executive order in the same mold as his original executive order on immigration, which suspended the United States’ refugee program and temporarily halted travel and immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations, including indefinitely from Syria.

“We will do something next week, I think, you’ll be impressed. We’ll see what happens,” he said.

Trump had earlier criticized the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for maintaining a temporary suspension of the original executive order, dramatically reading the law he said gave him the authority to implement it. He also claimed that refugees and migrants coming into the United States had not been vetted.

You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris,” he said. “We have allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country and there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing.”

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: